Xerophyta retinervis is a hardy, deciduous, slow growing, perennial plant that has blackened, hairy stems. In the winter months they look as if they have been burnt and in a lot of cases have actually been burnt. They are totally transformed in the early summer (September to November), when they sprout long, strap-shaped leaves that look like grass growing in tufts at the tips of stems, resembling a fountain. They are then covered with masses of big, white to mauve, lily-like scented, flowers on slender stems. They flower in profusion after fire. Probably best grown as a specimen plant in wide, shallow containers, it also provides the ideal base for many species of indigenous epiphytic orchids and ferns. This is not an easy plant to grow as it is classed as a resurrection plant and the roots should never be broken or disturbed. Prefers full sun, or light shade from surrounding rock or grasses
Size: Up to 1.5m
Rothmannia globosa is a hardy, evergreen (sometimes briefly deciduous) well-shaped, small tree with attractive bark that becomes neatly squared with age.
It has dark green glossy leaves.
Clusters of magnificent, white, bell-shaped, sweetly scented flowers adorn the tree from August to November. The large, round, leathery green fruits are sweet and juicy, but become hard and woody when dry.
The juice of the fruits, that stains blue, is used to heal wounds and burns.
Plant as an understory shrub under larger trees with light shade, such as Acacia species.
Plant in semi-shade in compost-rich, well-drained soil.
Size: 4 to 7m
Sesamothanmus lugardii is a fairly hardy, misshapen, small tree or shrub that resembles a miniature baobab. It has tiny leaves that cluster along the long elegant stems and mottled bark.
It bears beautiful white frilly flowers with a long tube from November to February. It has attractive heart-shaped seeds capsules that all pop open together to release their papery seeds in just a few days. This is why the seeds are so hard to come by.
Plant in full sun in a hot dry area in a rockery or it also makes a lovely container plant.
Size: Up to 4m
Pachypodium saundersiae is a semi hardy, deciduous succulent shrub that has a large, irregularly swollen stem with thick branches and a silvery-grey bark with hard white spines.
From April to June it bears large, attractive, frilly, white, tubular flowers that are suffused with reddish-purple. The fruit is a grey, two-lobed pod that resembles horns.
A lovely garden or container plant for full sun and well-drained soil.
Size: Up to 1m
Greyia sutherlandii is a hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, rugged looking shrub or small tree with attractive round leaves that turn bright red in autumn. The tree is often still leafless when it starts to bear densely packed spikes of magnificent, brilliant red flowers at the tips of the branches from August to October. When blooming en masse they are a sight never to be forgotten.
The flowers are rich in nectar, which attracts sunbirds and insects to the garden. The dead leaves often persist on the tree and should be removed to gain the full benefit of the flowers.
Makes a good container plant and a wonderful tree for a small garden. The soft pale pink wood is used for household items.
Plant in a sunny or semi-shade position, in well-drained soil. Thrives in rocky soils.
Size: Up to 7m